To Leave The Shire Or Not

I can honestly say that I have never been as excited about life as I am now. The last several months have been some of the most invigorating of my life. I have seen my children blossom in ways I never could have imagined. They have embraced this “adventure” with open arms and are flourishing as a result. We were all in the van a couple of days ago and I said aloud, “I am really glad that I live in Tennessee.” and they all shouted their enthusiastic agreement. That started a discussion of their favorite new things. Amazingly, school took the top spot.

Jenny and I are also very thankful for our adventure. At least once a day we mention how fun it is to be on our adventure together. Adventure is not without it’s hair raising experiences, but we have had a peace in our spirit even in the midst of the scary times and we can say that God is always faithful.

I have been reflecting on adventure lately and thought about my grandparents on the Sanders side. My grandfather was a school teacher and he chose to give up teaching and follow his passion, farming. Farming in central Illinois was neither lucrative nor prestigious, but it is where his heart was. He spent the rest of his life pursuing that passion.  I moved back to Illinois in my early teens and worked with my grandfather on his farm. One thing I remember about him is that he was always excited for the days work. I am now able to see that he was always so excited because he was true to his heart and followed his passion, despite the circumstances. About 12 years ago, my grandfather got on his ATV and went to check on his cows. He returned from that task and told my grandma that he was going to take a nap before lunch. He never woke up from that nap. He pursued his passion and died in the company of his life long companion after doing the work of a farmer.

My grandfather’s adventures rarely took him outside of the 100 mile radius of his farm, but he still had adventure. He and my grandma helped found, and maintain, one of the oldest Apostolic churches in the state of Illinois. They were always willing to help a neighbor and did not know a stranger. I recall standing in front of a small town funeral home in central Illinois as a sea of people flooded in to show their respect for a man that followed his heart and had an adventure, close to home.

When something works for us we tend to want the same thing to work for our loved ones. The same could be said for my grandparents. They wanted their children to share their passion, but my dad’s heart was passionate about helping people have a relationship with Jesus. He and my mom led our family on one of the most amazing adventures as they pursued that passion. He had to step away from all that he knew and follow his heart, like his father before him did. As a child raised by a father and mother following their passion, I can honestly say that I have no regrets.

I talk a lot about following your heart and having an adventure. That is because I feel so alive in my adventure and I want everyone to feel the freedom and joy that comes from living your passion and letting God take care of the details.  My excitement may make you feel like you can only have adventure if you move away, and that is simply not true. Adventure is the word I use for following your God given purpose.  God created each of us with unique desires and passions. Some of you would be content to never leave your neighborhood, while others can’t pass the airport without the desire to go somewhere. Both of these are perfectly fine. This world needs pillars of the community, who follow their passion, and the ones who follow their passion by moving away.

You probably already know what your passion is and if you were able to get alone with yourself and clear away the reasons why you can’t, you would leave everything and follow it. You and those around you will have a million reasons why you can’t follow that passion, but you can let God handle those details. He created you with a purpose and He will handle the details if we can trust enough to embrace the purpose and have our adventure.
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